Tag Archives: Patriot Day

Race #59 – 9/11 Memorial 5K

After yesterday’s late-race debacle, I wasn’t feeling good about this morning’s 9/11 Memorial 5K.  This race was to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, though, and I figured I owed it to our heroes to get my lazy butt out of bed, and on the trail.  🙂

After getting dressed and a little breakfast, I pointed the Jeep to the Greenway.  It was surprisingly chilly, even with the sun already up.  The Jeep’s thermometer read 54°, and at speed on Highway 100, it felt every bit of it!

I stretched out, and got on course.  I’d already decided to just walk today.  I needed the miles, but I needed to recover too, so it was a planned slow go.  With the great temps, the walk went very, very well, and I finished in about the same time I did yesterday, but feeling very much better upon completion.  Success!

I did add something to my journey this morning.  I’d talked with the folks at Fleet Feet a few weeks ago about my upcoming half marathon in Tulsa — just two months away!  We talked about in-race nutrition and fueling.  From that conversation, I picked up a handful of Gu packets.  I’ve never used any kind of race nutrition before, and I was nervous about some of the things I’d heard about it:  not hitting the stomach right, weird textures, and flavors that weren’t exactly great.

Well, I open a root beer flavored Gu about 15 minutes in, and while the consistency was indeed odd — like a really thick honey — the flavor was kinda like a slightly weak root beer barrel candy.  I felt no ill effects, and while I can’t point to any specific help it brought, I did finish feeling well.

More racing to come tomorrow!

This race benefitted the Wounded Warrior Project.

Race Course

Race #58 – Patriot Day 5K

With all the running this year, I began looking for Patriot Day-themed races.  This is an especially meaningful day for me, and I love the thought of doing something in honor of all those lost.

Today, I ran the Frogman Charities’ Patriot Day 5K.  Frogman Charities was formed by a former Navy SEAL, and benefits several Navy SEAL charities.  Add to that a medal and challenge coin (both shown in the header above), and suddenly I found myself signing up for another race!

I couldn’t have picked better weather for today’s run, which I did at lunch.  The beginning was awesome… temps in the 60s, clouds and breeze.  Mother Nature only suckered me in though.  By the time I hit my turnaround point, I was dealing with some sunlight breaking through the clouds, and a crazy amount of humidity as the morning’s rain began to suck back up into the atmosphere.

My first two kilometers were really amazing, and were some of the fastest times I’ve had in a while.  The last three kilometers, and in particular, the last kilometer, were pretty ugly.  Too much speed up front, and worsening conditions (for me, anyway!), and that spelled a tough second half of the race.

But done is done, and every mile matters.  I can live with that.  And I had some time to reflect on the meaning of today.  As I wrote a long, long time ago, I think 9/11 was my generation’s Pearl Harbor, and I know I still think back to that day, and the weeks after, and it’s as clear as day to me.

This race benefitted UDT-Seal Association, Navy SEAL Museum and Foundation for Navy SEAL Veterans.

Race Course

Patriot Day

A long, long time ago, I wondered in my personal journal what my generation’s Pearl Harbor would be. Frankly, I thought it would be something much more horrific than that Day That Would Live in Infamy — a doomsday scenario, with us and Russians lobbing warheads over the pole at each other. It was the early 1980s, after all, and that seemed like the most likely kind of event. Like so many others, though, when the fall of the Soviet Bloc took place in the late 1980s, I thought we were finally on the brink of acting like the human race I’d always aspired for us to be. Of course, there would still be strife and hated — there’s just too many different opinions out there on life, liberty and pursuit of happiness — but I thought that the promise of the Shining City on a Hill would be so uniting and so persuasive, it would be the kind of obvious human goal to strive for.

And then September 11th, 2001, rolled around.

I was sitting in a meeting at work, when someone said that a plane had crashed into a building in New York City. Obviously, that was a horrible thing to hear, but it was in that weird “spectator” state for those of us in the building. This was before cell phones with internet connections were ubiquitous, and really, all we had to rely upon was the word-of-mouth of folks who were just rolling into work, or folks who were looking at various news websites. By the time we were out of our meeting, it was obvious that something very, very traumatic had taken place, and I knew then that my generation had its Pearl Harbor.

I remember not being able to get any news in the building. Most folks’ radios didn’t work well in there — lots of concrete and RFI from all the computers — so the real lifeline was the internet. Of course, an hour or so into the tragedy, most websites were impossible to hit. If I remember right, CNN actually went down to a single, simple HTML page, trying to serve up simple, quick pages to a public hungry for news on what had just happened to us. As for me, I watched the news unfurl on the BBC website, as it was slightly less taxed than the domestic news outlets.

Upon finishing the workday, I came home, and watched the first video I’d seen of what had happened. It’s one thing to read about such devastation, but to see it unfold on a TV screen was truly surreal. Like many folks said on that day, it looked like a scene from some kind of Hollywood blockbuster. And I stayed glued to the TV the rest of the night.

Oddly enough, the thing that struck me the most about what I saw on TV that night was what wasn’t happening. Many of the “entertainment” networks — QVC, HGTV, MTV and others — suspended their operations, and either were hooked into a news outlet, or had a simple slide up, speaking of their support for the families of those lost on that day. I’d never seen anything like it.

Like many, many other folks, I was in shock. I wept, I prayed, and I tried to move on.

Fast forward to today, the tenth anniversary of that awful day. This weekend, I went to Branson for the semiannual Fiddlers’ Convention with some of the folks I play music with. I knew it was a special weekend because of the anniversary, but I also knew that I could find some solace in some of the most American music ever created. Last night, I joined the circle, and played out, for the first time outside the small group of folks that are my occasional musical circle.

I tried to keep up, and follow along as these very experienced players weaved music through the night. I really surprised myself, and think I did ok. And then, unexpectedly, there were two moments that really made the night memorable for me.

One of the guys that went to Branson with me broke into “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”. That old song is absolutely one of my favorites, and being a part of playing it in a small group was magical, truly magical. I was swept up in the music, and for the first time, felt like I was really a part of the music itself. I really don’t know how to explain it any better than that. And like part of a one-two punch, the circle started playing “Amazing Grace.” Yet again, I was struck with being such a part of this wonderful musical event. I heard someone on the radio this morning describing music as being something that could describe events using language beyond our daily ability to communicate. I’d have to agree, and that’s definitely what I was finding last night — comfort, and solace, communicated as more than the sum of the words that were sung and notes that played.

This morning, I began the quick journey back from Branson — just a few hours’ drive — and encountered a couple of groups marking the anniversary. The first was a group of motorcyclists, riding as a group on the outer road, sporting U.S. flags on the back of their bikes. The other was a long, long line of farm tractors making the turn off the outer road, each with Old Glory proudly displayed. This kind of display as I rolled across the hills of mid-Missouri reminded me of just how special our country is, and how poignant this date is, and likely will remain.

I’ve found myself trying to steel against the emotions of the day, and every once in a while, I’m caught off-guard by a gasp of emotion, a cry caught in my throat, inspired by things as disparate as hearing “Amazing Grace” played at Ground Zero as I was driving home this morning, to seeing a commercial featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales kneeling before the skyline of New York City. Through it all, I know that God will watch out for us — not because we’re so special, but because we’ve asked Him take care of us.